It’s no secret that our time on earth is riddled with heartaches, hurts, disappointments, failures, and loss. We scratch our heads and attempt to put the pieces together, searching for the seemingly elusive answer to the one big question on our minds: “Why?”
It’s hard enough as it is to cope with the pain of life in a fallen world, but the struggle is intensified, not by the existence of pain, but by the seemingly vague purpose behind the pain. We just want to wrap our minds around the reason.
I don’t know for sure, but I have to believe there were some perplexed disciples a couple thousand years ago whose hopes and dreams were suddenly dashed when their leader became the victim of a capital investigation overnight. This afternoon I was listening to an old podcast from college, and Steve Bateman put the audience in the disciples’ sandals for a moment. He briefly painted the Good Friday scene and suggested that the disciples were likely thinking to themselves, “What good can possibly come from this?”
What just happened? And more importantly, why?
In that moment they were unable to see the full scope of what God was orchestrating, but on Sunday morning they caught a fresh glimpse of His plan. The resurrection takes the truth of Genesis 50:20 and magnifies it beyond comprehension. Of the numerous times in the Bible when God accomplished good out of evil, the death and resurrection of Jesus is paramount.
In Genesis 50:20, Joseph, addressing his brothers who sold him into slavery, reflects on his lifelong experience of God’s sovereignty and utters the profound truth that floods the pages of Scripture: “What you meant for evil, God intended for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives.”
Sounds a lot like Jesus. As Tim Keller put it, “Jesus is the true and better Joseph who, at the right hand of the King, forgives those who betrayed and sold Him and uses His new power to save them.”
As we continue to face the reality of life in a sinful world, we will undoubtedly wrestle with questions concerning our pain’s purpose. But as we sort through our emotions and circumstances, let us never forget the reality that has advanced God’s perfect mission from the days of Joseph to the death of Jesus: what is meant for evil, God is willing and able to use for our good and His glory.
The greatest injustice the world has ever known – the most devastating of tragedies – is the means by which God intended to accomplish salvation. The heights of amazing grace were reached through the depths of humanity’s staggering wickedness. We couldn’t have been worse, and He couldn’t possibly be better. Hallelujah, what a Savior!